Rather than doing what is required to bolster public trust, many political leaders, particularly in the West, have sought to unite their populations by framing and highlighting external threats, especially China and Russia. This has left China with little choice but to redouble its efforts to build resilience at home.
HONG KONG – Instability is the new worldwide normal. From Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and tensions in the Taiwan Strait to the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, the challenges the world faces are as varied as they are volatile. But, despite their transnational nature, building resilience to them must happen, first and foremost, within the confines of nation-states.
To be sure, effective multilateral cooperation has an important role to play. But intensifying geopolitical rivalries limit its potential. Moreover, even if countries did work together, their ability to address destabilizing global and regional trends and imbalances would depend substantially on the work that each country is doing to strengthen financial, economic, and social resilience at home.
But there are plenty of barriers to effective national-level action. With public trust in government sagging in much of the world, few political leaders have the political mandate or legitimacy they need to make the difficult choices that the situation requires. Widespread mistrust of media does not help matters.